Capital rioters included highly trained ex-servicemen and police


WASHINGTON (AP) – Supporters of President Donald Trump massaged outside the Capitol last week and sang the national anthem, a line of men wearing olive-drab helmets and body armor purposefully up the marble stairs in a single-file line Sculpted in the manner, each person was holding a jacket collar in front.

The formation, known as the “Ranger File”, is the standard operating procedure for a combat team that is “stacking” to dismantle a building – recognizable to any American soldier or marine in Iraq and Afghanistan Used to serve It was a chilling sign that many on the front of the mob had either received military training at the seat of American democracy or were trained by those who did.

An Associated Press review of public records, social media posts and videos identified at least 21 current or former members of the US military or law enforcement as being in or near the Capitol riot., With more than a dozen others under investigation, but not yet named. In many cases, those who attacked the Capitol employed tactics, body armor and technology such as two-way radio headsets, similar to the police they were facing.

Experts in domestic extremism have warned for years about efforts by far-right militants and white-dominated groups to radicalize and recruit people with military and law enforcement training, and they say the masses. 6 Revolts Some of the worst fears of those who see people die are realized.

“ISIS and al-Qaeda will eliminate anyone with the training and experience of an American military officer,” said Michael Jarman, a former agent and fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University. “These people have the training and capabilities that can be far greater than any foreign terrorist group. Foreign terrorist groups do not have any members with badges. “

One of the most prominent to emerge is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and decorated combat soldier from Texas, who was arrested on the Senate floor after photographing a couple wearing zip-tie handcuffs, wearing a helmet and body armor I went.

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Another Air Force veteran from San Diego was shot and killed by a Capitol police officer as he tried to leap through a barricade near the chamber of the house. SEAL, a retired Navy SEAL among the most specialized special combat operators in the military, posted a Facebook video about the rally’s journey from his Ohio home and approved the invasion of “our building, our home”.

Two police officers, both former foot soldiers, from a small Virginia town were arrested by the FBI after posting a selfie of themselves inside the Capitol, one flashing his middle finger on camera.

There is also an active-duty psychological war captain under investigation From North Carolina who staged three busloads of people heading to Washington for the “Save America” ​​rally, in support of the president’s false claim that the November election was stolen from them.

While the Pentagon declined to estimate how many other active-duty military personnel were under investigation, the military’s top leaders were worried enough before the presidential election, issuing highly unusual warnings to all service members. This week that the right to free speech does not give anyone the right to commit violence.

The head of the US Capitol Police was forced to resign after the breach and several officers were suspended for the result of an investigation into his conduct, one with a rioter posing for a selfie and the other for Trump’s One of the red was seen wearing “Make America Great Again”.

AP’s review of hundreds of videos and photos from Rebel Riot showed scores of mixed people in the crowd wearing military-style gear, including helmets, body armor, Rouxac and two-way radios. Trump supporters associated with dozens of pole sprays, baseball bats, hockey sticks and batons later cursed police officers.

A close examination of the group that stepped in to help dissolve the Capitol reveals that they wore military-style patches that read “Militia” and “Ottahiper”. Others wore patch-insies representing far-flung terrorist groups, including the Proud Boys, Three Percenters, and various self-proclaimed state militias.

Oath Keepers, which claims to count thousands of current and former law enforcement officers and military veterans as members, have become fixtures in protests and protests around the country, often equipped with semi-automatic carbines and tactical guns. .

Stewart Rhodes, an army veteran who founded the oath-taking in 2009 as a backlash headed by Barack Obama, had been saying for weeks before the Capitol riot that his group was preparing for a civil war and that it was armed Was prepared to go into. If the President calls us. “

Adam Newbold, a retired Navy SEAL from Lisbon, Ohio, whose military career of more than two decades includes several war awards for gallantry, said in a January 5 Facebook video, “We are very ready, very capable and very skilled right now.” Patriots are ready for battle. “

He later posted a deleted follow-up video following the riots, saying he was “proud” of the attack.

Newbold, 45, did not respond to multiple AP messages, but in an interview with the Task and Purpose website, he denied going inside the Capitol. He said that due to the video collapse he has resigned from a program that helps prepare potential SEAL applicants.

Retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Larry Rendall Brock Jr. of Texas was released to prison on Thursday after a prosecutor accused him of zip-tie handcuffs on the Senate floor as he planned to take hostages .

Assistant US Attorney Jay Weimim said, “They mean kidnapping members of the US government, stopping, maybe trying.” “Their prior experience and training make them more dangerous.”

Investigators are investigating the possible involvement of Captain Emily Rhynie, an army commander at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, a 30-year-old psychiatric operation officer and Afghanistan war veteran told the AP that he along with 100 others in Washington “stood up to fraud “Traveled to “He insisted that he acted within the rules of the army and no one in his group had entered the Capitol nor broken the law.”

“I was a private citizen and doing everything right and within my rights,” Rainey said.

More than 110 people have been arrested so far related to the Capitol riot, ranging from curfew violations to theft and possession of weapons to serious federal goons.

Brian Harrell, who worked as assistant secretary for infrastructure security at the Department of Homeland Security until last year, said it is “clearly problematic” when “extremist bad actors” have military and law enforcement background is.

“Many have undergone special training, some have seen fighting, and nearly all have been disbanded and promoted from illegitimate sources,” Harel said. “They are replete with conspiracy theories, feel as if something is being stolen from them, and they have no interest in arguing. It’s waiting for the powder keg cocktail to blow up.”

The FBI is warning about the possibility of more bloodshed. In an internal bulletin released on Sunday, the bureau warned of plans for armed protests in all 50 state capitals and Washington DC in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, police departments in major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Houston and Philadelphia announced that they were investigating whether members of their agencies participated in the Capitol riot. The Philadelphia-area transit authority is also investigating whether seven of its police officers who attended Trump’s rally in Washington have broken any law.

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A Texas sheriff announced last week that he had reported one of his lieutenants to the FBI after posting pictures of himself on social media with a crowd outside the Capitol. Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salzar said 46-year-old jailer Lex Roxnay Mathai had the right to attend the rally, but is investigating whether he broke the law.

One of the posts that Mathai shared was a photo taken on 6 January amid the massacre of Trump supporters outside the Capitol. … aside from my children, it was, in fact, the best day of my life. And it is not over yet. “

A mother and a lawyer for Mathai, a longtime San Antonio resident, said she attended the Trump rally, but never entered the Capitol.

In Houston, Police Chief Art Acevedo said an 18-year-old elder from the department suspected of joining the crowd had put the Capitol on leave and would face disciplinary hearings.

“There is no excuse for criminal activity, especially from a police officer,” Acevedo said. “I cannot tell you the thought anger of a police officer, and other police officers, thinking that they might bring a storm to the Capitol.”

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Blair reported from Dallas and Laporte of Delores Beach, Florida. Robert Burns and Mike Balsamo in Washington; Jim Mustian, Michael R. in New York. Sisak and Thalia Beatty; Michael Kunzelman in College Park, Maryland; Juan A. Lozano in Houston; Claudia Laur in Philadelphia; Martha Belisle in Seattle; And Stephanie Dazzio contributed to Los Angeles.

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Follow Associated Press Investigative Reporter Michael Beissecker at http://twitter.com/mbieseck; Http://twitter.com/JZBleiberg on Jtw Bleiberg; And James LaPorta at http://twitter.com/JimLaPorta

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Contact AP’s global investigative team at [email protected]

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